France left it late against Romania, but it was worth the wait for the home fans as Dimitri Payet produced a stunning late winner in the Euro 2016 opener in Paris.
Dimitri Payet scored a brilliant late winner as hosts and tournament favourites France got off to a winning start at Euro 2016 against Romania in the opening game in Paris.
It was a moment of magic by Payet, who illuminated a largely anxious and frustrating night for Les Bleus which, at times, threatened to end in bitter disappointment as Romania proved resilient opponents.
After the Stade de France crowd were entertained by French DJ David Guetta, a rousing rendition of the Marseillaise should have spurred France into a roaring start in the French capital.
Instead it was an nervy and disjointed display by Didier Deschamps’ men, and Romania almost capitalised in the fourth minute when goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made a superb reaction save from point blank range from Nicolai Stanciu, who should have scored.
That forced France into action and their best chance of the first 45 minutes fell to Antoine Griezmann, but the Atletico Madrid forward could only head against the post.
Striker Olivier Giroud was guilty of several missed chances too as man of the match Payet crafted several openings for the Arsenal striker, whose wayward efforts were the source of much frustration among the home fans.
Romania, sensing a shock result could be within their grasp, should have gone ahead ten minutes into the second half when Bogdan Stancu miscued his volley wide after finding space in the France box.
France took the lead in the 57th minute through Giroud, who launched himself hopefully at a cross from the right and nodded in off the back of his head after Romania goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarasanu failed to claim.
But France’s lead lasted only 8 minutes, with Stancu scoring from the penalty spot after Patrice Evra capped a terrible performance by tripping him moments earlier to concede the spot kick.
With the game drifting towards a 1-1 draw, Payet etched himself into France folklore with a sensational late winer, cutting inside onto his left foot and arrowing an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 25 yards, sending France supporters into delirium.